Southwest Airlines names new Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer

Southwest Airlines Co. today announced the promotion of Linda Rutherford to Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer. With the promotion, Rutherford will add the Company’s Culture Services Department to her oversight and will report to Executive Vice President Corporate Services Bob Jordan, while continuing to work directly with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly on communication efforts and Culture activities.

“Linda embodies what it means to Live the Southwest Way, and she has skillfully championed our Communication and Outreach efforts for the past 25 years,” Kelly said.

With the addition of Culture Services, Rutherford will continue to oversee the Company’s Communication & Outreach efforts, as well as Employee Engagement. She will join the Company’s Corporate Services Leadership team and will work with that group to ensure Southwest has the best processes, policies, and tools to serve the airline’s growing and diverse workforce.

“Linda is a true visionary who has a passion and a love for our Company that is second to none,” said Bob Jordan. “I’m excited to work with Linda and her Teams to continue our legacy of being one of the most admired companies in the world.”

Rutherford began her Southwest career in 1992, and she has held several Leadership positions, including Vice President, Chief Communications Officer and Vice President Communication & Outreach. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Company’s Media Relations, Employee Communications, Emergency Response and Business Continuity, Strategic Public Relations, Social Business, Charitable Giving and Community Relations, Visual Communication, Employee Engagement & Travel, and Community Affairs and Grassroots. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas Tech University.

Honors include: 2016 Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year; 2016 PR Week named one of 36 Women Champions of PR; 2013 Tribute to Success honor by Connections to Success (Kansas City); 2012 inductee into the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame; 2012 Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award by the St. Louis NAACP; 2011 named a Top Executive in Diversity by Black Enterprise magazine; 2009 inductee into the Texas Tech College of Mass Communications Hall of Fame; 2008 inductee into PR News’ Public Relations Hall of Fame.